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Alethea & Athena
Japan trip 2017: le mouvement final 
19th-Nov-2017 05:07 pm
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Okay, this time we really mean it about it being the last report of our Japan trip!


I think we left off right after the Villains' World show, right? Well, after that we figured we should probably feed ourselves, so we went once again to the Zambini Brothers restaurant, because we were past a point where it would be safe to wander around and see if there was anything else we'd be willing to eat, and it was pretty close to where we already were. Just a matter of, "Hmm, we should eat something. There's a restaurant with food we'll eat right there!" There was discussion of trying to catch the last Out of Shadowland, but we opted against it, and now I don't remember why. Alas. (Athena suggests it had to do with a lack of desire to keep walking back and forth from one attraction to another.)

The significance of dinner is that our costumes had gloves, and gloves are not very conducive to comfortable eating, especially when eating food without utensils, as we tend to do with pizza. So we took off our satin gloves, and it wasn't until we'd gotten a good deal away from the restaurant that I realized I had forgotten to put my glove back on. So I dashed back to the restaurant and our table...and the glove was nowhere to be seen. Fortunately, there was a couple at a nearby table who saw the whole thing, and the boyfriend (I assume) said in English, "You left a glove." And I said, "Yes!" and went over to hear what he had to say. It kind of felt like a video game. He told me a cast member took it, so I should go find someone and ask about it. And that's how we got to find out about how lost & found works at DisneySea.

I went downstairs, found a cast member, and told her I'd lost a glove. I was still wearing my lace fingerless one, so she asked, "Is it like that one?" but I was distracted and noticed that Athena was just catching up, so I thought maybe she was referring to the satin glove Athena was wearing. So that led to a little bit of confusion, but we did manage to describe it properly, and she called up another cast member on her walkie talkie, and he came along with my glove and a clipboard, because I had to sign for it. So that was kind of weird, but it was all good, because I got my glove back.

After that, we wandered around a little bit more. I don't remember the details--maybe we wanted to try to get our picture at the super awesome backdrop at the American Waterfront, or maybe we were going to see about watching the show there (it was a new one featuring Duffy's newest friend Stella Lou; we ultimately decided not to watch it), but I remember we got in line to take the electric train to Port Discovery. We checked the line to the new Finding Nemo ride and decided it wasn't worth it, so we went on Aquatopia, and after that we decided we hadn't been on Sindbad's Storybook Voyage enough yet, so it was back to the Arabian Coast.

I don't know why, but by that time we were feeling a bit of ennui. Sometimes when we go to Disney parks by ourselves, we get this feeling like, "Yeah, this is fun, but what's the point of it all?" And we wonder if maybe we're just wasting our entire lives. On this trip, I think I was able to identify it as a little bit of homesickness. And so we decided to go on Sindbad's Storybook Voyage, because I had a bit of lingering regret over the last time we went that was so silly I don't even remember the specifics (I think one of the cast members said something as we got off the boat for the second time and I just smiled and nodded, and I felt bad for not responding properly). That had me a little eager to go on it again in the hopes of rectifying the situation, and I think it really wasn't a big deal, but it felt like a big deal at the time. But I think the important thing that it accomplished was that it got us to go on the ride again when we were feeling our usual Disney ennui. You'd think we would just do that anyway, but because we love the ride so much, we might avoid it, because if it doesn't cure the ennui, we'll really wonder what the point of it all is.

Fortunately, Sindbad turned out to be exactly what we needed. And we needed it very badly, because by the time we got to the finale room, we both felt like we just wanted to live on the ride for a while. So we did the obvious thing and went on it again. After the second time, we were feeling much better, and we realized that we still hadn't bought any pins.

See, we promised a woman in our ward that we would buy her some pins at Tokyo Disneyland so she could give them as Christmas gifts to her Disney-pin-loving children. But apparently they are so over pins at Tokyo Disney Resort, because the selection was very very small. And there weren't really any Halloween ones, which we were hoping for because her kids all love The Nightmare Before Christmas and the like. So we said to ourselves, well, the best pins are the ones at the bazaar, with Mickey and Friends dressed as villains (they were different than the ones we got last year, by the way). We'd already gotten a couple for ourselves, but A)those were for us, and B)we only had two, and our friend has four children. So we went to the bazaar to play the games four times. We are pretty good at losing that game, after all.

The problem was that each person can only play once per getting in line. So we couldn't play four times in a row; just once for each of us. Well, that's okay; we'll just line up again. I went first...and for the first time in my entire life, I actually won this game. Neither of us could believe it. And I even did it on my third try! (out of four). So Athena got to practice once, and she agreed to do it even though she was planning to lose...except now we didn't even know what the plan was, because we had already bombed one of our chances to lose. Anyway, it didn't matter, because she won, too. You have to understand, we've gotten six pins from this game (we gave one away), because we always lose. Always! But not this time. We both won. Well, we took that as a sign from the universe that our friend's children needed some other kind of Christmas gift, and we accepted our giant-headed Donald and Daisy plushies, which are super cute, by the way. We love them. They're Donald in his Hades costume and Daisy in her Ursula costume, and they're adorable. We'll have to take pictures at some point. I think once we've posted all our Japan pictures to Facebook, we'll take bonus pictures of all the stuff we bought.

But not all of it! Because we bought some Christmas gifts, which was our next stop. Someone on our list had expressed an appreciation for a certain style of Disney t-shirt that has been showing up at Disneyland, and we recognized immediately that those shirts came from Tokyo Disney Resort. And fortunately, the one she wanted was the Aladdin one, which means it was in our home away from home, the Arabian Coast at DisneySea. So we went to the market place...and we weren't sure if they had the shirt in her size. This was a serious dilemma. I even asked a cast member if they had it in other sizes; it was that important. Unfortunately, they did not, so now we had to figure out whether or not we should get our best alternative guess, or if we should get her something else.

While we wandered the store trying to decide what to do, we happened across a different cast member (he was maybe a whole four feet away from the one we asked about shirt sizes) showing a book to a bunch of little kids. It was a coloring book...or it was supposed to be, but there were no pictures! So I don't remember what he did to it, but he did something (and probably had the kids help him out by blowing on it or something), and flipped through it again...and there were pictures! What! (Actually we saw these books on sale, but hadn't seen them in action, so it was really nice to get a demonstration.) He said there was still something missing, though, so he did something else...and then all the pictures were colored! WHAT! It was magic! It was really cool, and it makes me wish we'd bought one ourselves, but we were on a Christmas gift mission, and we were at another "I don't know if we should spend so much money" phase of our vacationing cycle.

Nevertheless, we went to the magic tricks to see what all they had, because maybe one would make a nice gift for this person we were buying a gift for. They had a lot of cool looking stuff, and we found something we thought would be best and decided to buy that! ...And the shirt, just in case it really was the right size. Because if we were right there where they had the exact thing we knew she wanted and didn't buy it, that just seemed wrong. But now we had something else, in case the first thing was a bust.

But that's not even the best part! As the first cast member we talked to was ringing us up, the magician cast member noticed what we were buying and asked if we wanted English instructions for it. I don't know why I couldn't just say, "Yes, please." I felt the need to say, "Normally, I'd say no, but this is a gift," which I said in Japanese, of course, and that impressed the first cast member immensely, so we had a brief conversation where we mentioned that we translate manga, and that helped us feel special. And then after the transaction was complete, I was just collected everything and getting ready to go, and I looked up from putting my card away, and there was a Genie in my face! The magician cast member had pulled it out, because that's what he does, I guess. And after I reacted with the appropriate surprise, suddenly the Genie was gone! I was surprised again! What it was was a magic rope that can be flexible like a rope or hard like a stick, so when the Genie was in my face, he was holding it like a stick, and then he made it go all loose so the Genie dropped out of sight. Pretty nifty trick!

After that, we did the only thing you could really expect us to do at this point, and we went on Sindbad again, to break our record of four times in one day. But now that we'd been on it five times, Athena added up our Sindbad history and realized that we'd been on that ride nineteen times in our whole life. So of course we had to go again to make it an even twenty. And that's how we got to go on Sindbad's Storybook Voyage a record-breaking six times in one day.

Then we sloooowly made our way back to the front of the park, stopping at 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, as one does (we always seem to go on it first and last). We walked all the way around the inside of Mysterious Island's volcano because there's a gift shop we like to stop in, and we discovered the stairs that lead right beside the Nautilus (which is parked in the crater lake)! Farley really likes the Nautilus, so we thought about going down to get pictures from up close, but we were way too tired. This was the last day of our vacation, and we'd done a lot of walking.

And eventually we left our beloved DisneySea. We were a little eager, actually, because for some reason I had gotten it into my head that we might miss the last train back to our hotel (it was probably an irrational fear, considering the fact that about when the Disney parks close is about when the night life really picks up in Tokyo, which means the trains have to keep running for at least another hour or two), and we had to change out of our costumes and buy souvenirs for other people on our list. So we changed out of our costumes, and as we left the changing area, we noticed that the cast members in charge of the area, whose job apparently is to just stand there and be available in case something happens, and is probably pretty slow for most of the day, had decided to make the most of it by picking up twigs and pine cones from the surrounding trees and using them to spell out "Happy Halloween." It was the cutest, nicest thing!

We went to Bon Voyage to get some souvenirs (that's the big Disney store outside the parks), and then we headed back to our hotel. The next day, we hadn't been entirely sure what we were going to do, because we had to check out at eleven or noon, and our flight didn't leave until seven in the evening. But during the course of our vacation, we got some work emails that had us fearing for our lives, so the perfect solution was to check out of the hotel, go straight to the airport, and use the airport wifi to work until it was time to check in for our flight. And that's why the last volume of Say I Love You. was mostly translated at Narita Airport. It was actually the least stressful option, too, because while it might have been nice to wander around Tokyo a little longer, this way we didn't have to worry about storing our luggage, picking our luggage back up, and finding our way to the airport in time for everything. And I'm very paranoid about catching planes and trains. So it worked out.

While we were working, someone at the airport stopped by to say hello! It was the lady from the couple we had helped at DisneySea--the one we went on Sindbad with. Turns out, they were on the same flight back to the US! So that was neat.

Eventually we did start getting antsy about checking in, so we did that, and then we found Narita's MacDonald's, where we got french fries and Chelsea-flavored milkshakes, all of which tasted very magical because we were very tired and very hungry. Then we made our way to our gate.

As we sat there waiting and waiting and waiting, a little girl sitting nearby decided she might as well try us as an audience for her fidget spinner tricks. She would start it spinning, and then stop it with her nose, or she would start it spinning and then balance it on her finger while it kept going. She even managed to balance it, still spinning, on the toe of her shoe. We won her affection by being a good audience (we're nothing if not a good audience), so her dad encouraged her to introduce herself. That's when, seemingly out of nowhere, she said, exactly like this, "My name is [redacted]. I'm six!" In English and everything. It was the cutest thing! So I said, "Hajimemashite," and she said it, too, and then her dad asked her how to say that in English, and she said, "I don't know!" (in Japanese), so I said, "Nice to meet you!" and her dad kind of nudged her like, "Okay, you're turn," and after some prodding, she said it, too.

After that, she wouldn't stop talking. It was hilarious. She asked us what our favorite fruit was; hers is mango. She also likes strawberry, which I mention because she said the name of the fruit in English, but the rest of the conversation was Japanese. The best was when she asked if we know any dramas. She's like, "Do you know this one? It's the one on Thursdays." and we're like, "No..." and she's like, "You don't!? ...Oh yeah, you're Americans." We said we knew anime, and she was all, "Like what?" and we said, "Sailor Moon!" and she's like, "Never heard of it." Then she asked us if we knew Ariel, and we were like, "We sure do," and she's like, "Oh yeah, 'cause she's Disney."

It was just the funniest thing. There was even a point when the flight crew for our flight came along (she was waiting for a different flight) and say between us and her family, so I thought she would probably want to stick close to her parents with all these serious grownups around (I know as a kid, I would have been intimidated), but she came over to our side and sat with us anyway. It was so cute. I hope she had a good time with her family on her vacation.

And then we got on our flight, and I guess we actually managed to get some sleep this time, because we weren't nearly as dead when we got back as we've been on previous returns. Still pretty dead, but not nearly as dead. And then we had the weekend to recover, and it was back to work work work. And now here we are, almost two months later, finally finished telling everyone about it. Tadah!


And there you have it. Aah, it was a good time, even with the ennui. Today I'm thankful for finally having this whole report to look back on, this more jig-like version of the Jig from the Little Mermaid (it's on the Mermaid Lagoon album), getting to meet that little girl at the airport, having plans to bake some caramel apple cookies, and super cute Donald and Daisy plushies.
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